Doll collecting is the second largest hobby in America! With such huge popularity I believe that Barbie has already made her comeback. The hobby continues to grow rapidly all around the world and is so huge that if you are just getting started you might feel overwhelmed. There are so many types of dolls to collect – Antique dolls, Barbie dolls, ethnic dolls, cloth dolls, American girls and artist dolls. And, there are many other categories to explore.
Dolls have been around for at least 4,000 years according to archaeologists. These early dolls were usually made from wood or clay and certainly lacked the detail found in today’s toys. Through their long history dolls have had cultural significance and family importance. Dolls have been part of cultural ceremonies and have been prized as family heirlooms.
So, which dolls should you collect? For the most part, the selection of type is usually comes down to a personal issue. In most cases the first dolls you might collect are dolls that were part of your childhood and have special meaning to you. For example, today’s senior citizens that are just getting into the hobby usually seek out Shirley Temple and Madame Alexander dolls. The so called baby boomers usually head for the 50’s and 60’s vinyl and hard plastic dolls like Ginnys, Chatty Cathy, Barbies, Alexanderkins and Tammys. And, if you are part of the Generation X crowd, you will likely look for the Cabbage Patch dolls, Crissy and Dawn dolls.
That is not to say that as a new collector you won’t be drawn to your own definition of doll type. Again, it tends to be a personal decision. You could also become a collector of dolls made long before anyone alive today was born. Dolls like Jumeaus and Brus are highly sought after. Some people like the artistic qualities of some dolls. So, collect what you love!
If the dollar value of your doll collection is important to you it may steer your choices to certain types. The internet has in the last 20 years had a significant impact on doll pricing. Many more dolls are now available and generally prices have dropped from what they were in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The trading of dolls through eBay and other auction sites has made the hobby easier to break into and reduced the cost of acquiring your collection. This is good if you are just getting started and not so good if you have been a long time collector. But, we are really into doll collecting because of our love for dolls, not their monetary value. Right?
Where To Find Dolls
There are many places to look for dolls.
Garage Sales – You may just find that rare collectable that has been lost in time. These are also good spots to find rough gems that need a bit of restoration.
On-Line Auctions – Sites like eBay open the world to you as a collector. The near endless listings will not only give a huge selection to choose from it also will help educate you on what to watch for and the kind of prices you should expect to pay.
Doll Shops – Often there will be small, local shops specializing in collectable dolls and personal service. In many instances, these can be a place to go to get educated.
Flea Markets – You just never know what you will find!
Craft Shows – These are good for finding new handmade dolls from local dollmakers.
Dealer Websites – Many online locations to choose from.
Doll Conventions – Find dolls for sale and lots of opportunities to learn.
What Should I Look For When Purchasing Dolls?
The number one item to look at is the overall condition of the doll. If it is not perfect, will it need restoration? Is the restoration of a nature that you can do it or is it a professional job? You will want to evaluate the dolls clothing to determine if they are original. Of course, the more original the doll is, the more valuable. There will be many examples of dolls that have been played with and consequently may be missing small bits and pieces of clothing. Look carefully at these absent parts and decide how much it should affect the price.
You will find examples of dolls that have not been played with and for those, you can expect to pay the highest price. Original boxes, tags and packaging materials are a bonus when doll hunting. Fortunately, not every collector wants mint condition dolls. There are a large number that look for those that they can restore. This is another aspect of their doll collecting hobby that makes it that much more fun.
With this short description of the hobby of doll collecting I hope that you have found this information helpful. It is a wonderful hobby that will present many opportunities to make new friends and discover new treasures. After all, hobbies are all about having fun!
Other descriptors include antique dolls, hobbies for kids, hobbies for women and dollhouse.